Welcome to our Series „Humans of Climate Action“. This series is dedicated to uplifting non-European climate activists.
This first interview is with Grace Yang, from Lexington, in the US.
Grace is active with FridaysForFuture and the sunrise movement.
You can read the German transaltion of this interview here.
1) Can you tell us something about yourself?
My name is Grace Yang, and I’m 15 years old. I’m an Asian-American student activist fighting for the future of the planet.
2) Can you tell us a bit more about your personal motivation for participating in this movement?
Throughout the school year in 9th grade, I learned worse and worse things about climate change and became angrier and angrier. Bill McKibben, the founder of 350, spoke at my school about climate change and the youth climate movement, which got me fired up. Obviously, the most logical thing to do would be to throw away my hobbies and organize a strike for the 20th! That’s what I did, and here I am now.
3) What is your role in the #SchoolStrikeForClimate in your country?
When I was 14, I led a strike of 1000 people at my school for September 20th. I founded and am currently co-leading Sunrise Lexington, a chapter of the Sunrise movement. Sunrise is an American youth-led movement to stop climate change and create millions of jobs in the process. I’m also co-leading Fridays For Future Massachusetts, my state’s chapter of Fridays For Future USA. I’m a regional coordinator for the New England region, and I do both of those things with my friend Bridget Lord. Nationally, I’m currently the social media coordinator for Fridays For Future USA. For FFF USA, I also work on partnerships, structure, international relations, and more.
4) What is the movement like in your country? Are there many people/towns participating?
The climate movement is huge in America. There were over 800 strikes planned on September 20th, and we have a huge vision for April. I’m grateful to live in a country where I can protest, and I strike for all those who can’t.
5) What do you love about your region What’s beautiful in the nature around you? What do you like about your culture and society?
The oceans and beaches are so beautiful, but I can’t look into the waves anymore without thinking about that water rising up and consuming everything. I love this culture of activism and creating change.
6) What is the most serious environmental problem in your region? Are your government, the society or big environmental organizations working on solutions for this problem or is the problem just getting bigger without anyone changing anything?
In my state of Massachusetts, we’re trying to stop a compressor station from being built. Communities in my area are already seeing the effects of climate change with water in their streets and their backyards. I’m extremely disappointed with my government, but I’m already seeing change start to happen thanks to the power of the people.
7) What was the most successful action you participated in or heard about to protect the environment? What was special, what have you learned from it and how you feel about this succes?
Definitely September 20th. It was huge, and one of the biggest things that happened in my life. It’s how I threw myself head-first into the climate movement, not knowing what I was getting into. It’s how I learned so much about leadership and organizing and creating change. It was so tiring, but it felt amazing.
8) What are the talents and abilities you provide for a better world?
My anger, although that isn’t new. I’m told I’m brutally honest and tell it like it is. To be honest, I’m not sure about that! But that’s what we need in this world of lies.
9) What’s your vision for our planet, our nature and us humans in 2050? Do you think it’s realistic?
I hope that by then, we’ll live in a much better society. Our economy is amazing due to the thriving renewable energy industry. The system is less broken. And I don’t know. I don’t know if the climate movement will succeed but I pray it will because it has to.
10) Anything else you want to tell us?
Thank you. Everyone reading this, please keep fighting.
Love and rage,